5 Best Remote Collaboration Tools for Teams
However, being in a freelance web design team doesn’t necessarily mean you work together physically. That is one of the many joys of freelancing. You can work alone, while working together.
However, this is never easy as remote collaboration tools for teams can lead to miscommunication and lack of monitoring. You need tools where you can easily keep track and manage the projects and clients you get. You also need something to set and monitor deadlines, a melting pot of all finished products, invoices and many more.
For this article, we have collected some freelance collaboration tools which will surely make working with a remote team easier and more convenient.
Asana is popular over the last years because of the patronage of large and small scale businesses. Created by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and former Facebook tech-lead Justin Rosenstein, Asana was created to be a social network for companies; however, it turned out to be more of an intranet service than a project management tool.
What you can do with Asana
- Set deadlines
- Update tasks
- Set priorities
- Label options
All these are done in a very lightweight and professional-looking set up.
Its dashboard is composed of three main areas:
- The left area is for your projects and workspaces
- The middle area is where you can see tasks, calendars, and everything that’s going on with the team
- The right area is where you can expand information from the main window.
The Left Area
The left area stores all your projects, your inbox and your task list. Basically, you can choose what to look at in this area. If you want to view all updates within a separate project, you surely can. You can also color-code and archive projects and even create new ones.
The Main Window
The middle area is where you can see all updates about your projects. You can click on your projects at the left area and see your list of tasks, your co-worker’s tasks and progress. You can even sort them by due date and other filters.
The Right Area
The right area provides you with the details you need for your task. Deadlines, project descriptions, comments, files and more.
The Plus Points
- It is interactive.
- There are checkboxes for each task and sub- task where you can easily tick on and off for completed projects.
- You can even ‘like’ projects and comments using a heart feature that looks works like the Facebook Like button.
- It’s built using HTML5 so it can function like an offline app.
- There are even keyboard shortcuts to make your experience better.
However, despite all the great attributes of Asana, it still lacks some features that would have made it more amazing.
- You can’t work with it without Internet connection. Of course, as a web app, it needs to be anchored towards Internet connection. However, you have no fail-safe in case you can’t go online.
- It has yet to develop a chat feature. Chat would make instant communication easier. Imagine if you can contact anybody for a quick question without even bothering to mess with the task comments. It would surely be great.
Basecamp is probably the simplest and fastest content collaboration tool we have in this list. It’s easy to get projects using this collaboration tool as it was designed to look clean, as if you are just writing a note.
Basecamp combines sophistication and simplicity as it gives you powerful project management in a very simple and easy to understand interface.
Its calendar view allows you to see what’s going on with the project. You can also view each tasks per user and easily monitor what everybody’s up to.
What’s great about Basecamp is that you can easily navigate through your projects and tasks without the complicated structures other content collaboration tools offer. This really makes it very easy for freelancers who don’t want to waste time learning a difficult tool.
The Plus Points
What’s to love about Basecamp?
- Easy-to-setup interface
- Better performance
- Reasonably priced
However, despite these good points, Basecamp isn’t recommended as a free version for collaborators with multiple projects as you are limited to only one project before going premium.
Redbooth (formerly called Teambox) is one of the leading project collaboration tools we have in the market. It is a great tool if you want to transform your goals into reality in a fast and responsive way. The app gives you the ability to manage projects, communicate with your team and even clients.
What’s There to Love
- It goes along with Dropbox, Google Drive, Gmail, and other Google-business resources.
- It allows you to manage your tasks, start conversations, share files and restrict them to limited users.
- It also supports HD Video conferencing, time tracking and chat.
Learning how to tinker with Redbooth is easy-peasy with its integrated tutorials that are very easy-to-follow. Heck, you can even learn Redbooth in minutes!
However, Redbooth still needs to improve on its In-App reporting features. It just doesn’t do well compared to other project management tools. If this improves, I personally think that Redbooth could possibly be a very scary competitor.
Sqwiggle is a browser-based video group chat for freelancers. What separates this tool is that it gives off a more office-feel in your browser and lets you talk to your team with less hassle.
When you sign up, you will be given a “Workroom” where each user gets a grid UI where each member’s face is seen. When you are inactive, you appear to your team as a black and white still photo that changes from time to time.
If ever you wanted to speak with a teammate, you just click on their face using the UI and voila! You are speaking with them.
Notice that the hassle of ringing or even waiting for them to answer is eliminated. Just straight to the point communication.
If you want to go on a meeting with more members, you just click each of their photos and you’re good to go. To lessen the irritating noise of chatter all over the place, a colored icon appears next to your name, which corresponds to the person who is speaking.
If you wanted to talk to someone but that person is talking to someone else, just click on the photo and you can instantly join in with the conversation.
This is what I was talking about when I said that Sqwiggle gives you the office feel. However, the major drawback to this tool is that it’s focused on video. Just video.
If you wanted to share images, links, or text in Sqwiggle, you will just have to make do with the “stream” drawer where you can send quick texts when video isn’t available, but it just not enough.
Trello is last on the list but it certainly is not the least. This web-based tool uses the Kanban approach to help you with your projects.
In case you have no idea what on earth Kanban is, it’s a system that uses information on different cards and organizes them in a board.
It’s sort of a bulletin board with index cards placed in it. Each card corresponds to a stage in the process and an item or a task which you move across the board to signify progress.
This project management tool is very much like Asana in some ways. Like Asana, it has three areas for projects. Only that it the three areas correspond to stages of the project: Potential, Gathering Specs and In Progress.
Each stage is stacked with cards that represent tasks in each stage. Upon doing so, you can easily see, from wherever standpoint you are, what is getting done and not.
What’s There to Love
- You can also monitor the status of each card as Trello makes you see the detail. Just click on the card and you will see what’s going on.
- It allows you to see the details of each task so that you can attach files, add descriptions and make checklists for subtasks.
- Trello also allows you to create more boards and control each column in each board.
- You can basically track anything in your project.
- It’s easy to set up and learn while you monitor your progress, real time.
What makes Trello even a greater candidate for one of the best collaboration tools out there is that is gives you so much strength.
This tool is great, yes. However it still needs to improve the tracking the details. Although Trello does a great job for monitoring all the projects, it does a lousy job in tracking small-projects in smaller teams.
Also, the use of cards can be very difficult when they increase over time. The greater the number is, the difficult it is you can see them.
These project management tools are great ways to improve your workflow as a team. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Yes, you have to choose which of these will you use but it doesn’t have to mean you only need to choose one.
You can combine these tools to better facilitate your projects but selecting over a pool of great tools can be very difficult. You need to be decisive about this. Over-all, using these tools will surely benefit your team in the future.
What is your favorite among the lot? Which one do you use?